This spring I had an incredible opportunity to volunteer at three different projects offered by African Conservation Experience (ACE), allowing me to explore my interest in wildlife veterinary medicine and conservation. I was in my final year of veterinary nurse training and wanted to use their projects to gain some hands-on experience in the field.
This trip was my first time outside of the UK, and the whole ACE team were incredibly supportive throughout.
During my first week at the Phinda, I got to see a huge variety of wildlife. I also got to assist with some management work, such as elephant darting, rhino horn trimming, and rhino relocations. These experiences were definitely a highlight of my trip!
For the next two weeks, I was based in Louis Trichardt at the veterinary project, where I assisted in darting Buffalo and worked with livestock and domestic animals.
In my time off I got to explore the surrounding area, and I went on an amazing weekend excursion to Leshiba Wilderness and a lovely day trip to Mapungubwe National Park.
My final week was spent at Moholoholo, where I helped the centre with their daily animal care tasks which were usually cleaning, feeding, and caring for the range of animals at Moholoholo. I got the chance to work closely with two pairs of honey badgers and four white-faced owls.
My experience with ACE and the projects was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I could not recommend it enough to other people thinking of volunteering.
I was nervous about travelling solo to a new country, so I am proud that I did this by myself with the support of ACE, and I want to be able to give other people the confidence to do the same. The whole experience with ACE has made me realise that I want to go into wildlife conservation whether it's based in the UK or internationally.
I can not thank the teams at ACE, Phinda, Shimongwe, and Moholoholo enough!